Special Interests Went Down to Georgia; They Were Looking for a Relative to Hire
AUBURN, AL- At Take Back Our Republic, we have written that Washington, DC is the largest- but certainly not the only- swamp around the nation. Atlanta, not far from our Auburn headquarters, showcased its swampiness as its session wound down in late March.
The issue, installing traffic cameras in school zones, has some merit- although the logistics drew some concern. Nevertheless, HOW the legislation passed has certainly raised eyebrows.
As with any issue where government spends money, someone was set to benefit. That “someone” was American Traffic Solutions, an Arizona-based company. To achieve their desired result (passage of the bill), the firm needed to hire a lobbyist.
It turns out that this decision would pay major dividends. They hired Matt Ralston, the son of House Speaker David Ralston.
This decision yielded results as the spending bill wound its way through a relatively fiscally conservative legislative body despite it being an election year. Still, the bill was not making it through fast enough and found itself tangled up on Sine Die, the last day of the session. According to the rules, the session would end at midnight- dooming the bill’s chances until 2019.
Yet, when all hope seemed lost and midnight came and went, the Speaker and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle got on the phone and extended the session so that this last bill could come for a vote. In addition to his son’s lobbying for the firm, Ralston has received $6,700 in contributions from the company since September. Cagle, who agreed to extend the session, has $8,600 in recorded contributions from the (again, Arizona-based) firm over the same period.
The full article can be found here: https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/georgia-house-speaker-held-session-end-for-bill-pushed-his-son/VZvncEdszWwYdUyhe74BkK/.
What do you think? Do you think the Speaker and Lt. Governor made the unique decision to extend the session to pass good policy? Or, did family ties and campaign contributions play a role? Join the conversation at: https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/.